A Warlock Review: Ghost in the Shell: First Assault
Ok, this review isn’t going to be as ranty as my initial AoS review. (Side note: GW evidently could not copyright Brendan Fraser as Tomb Kings are now Squatted along with Bretonnia)
Today’s informative piece of fanboi gushin’ is about a PC game- Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C- First Assault, a Counter-strike/Battlefield -esque FPS which pits teams composed of members of Section 9 against cybermooks in deathmatches, terminal control missions and other such fun.
In the interest of full disclosure, this game is in early access having been made available on steam in Dec ’15. However, it is very, very solid for an early access game and stands alone from the other early access games (see what I did there?). The game is also very cheap, the most basic “pack” is $4.99 USD- a real bargain if you want to get a cheap way into Section 9. Weapon skins are present, as are purchasable equipment with both in-game and real money, essentially the same as any FPS these days. Given that a 40% discount was on the specialist pack, $8.99 USD later…
First things first: There’s a skippable tutorial to run you through the controls, test weapons and so on to acclimatise you to the game. It does this under the guise of testing out a new cyberbody which is ace as the developers really know how to capture the feel of Ghost in the Shell. After this, you can select one of 8 members of Section 9. No, you cannot play as Director Aramaki. Playable characters include: The Major, Batou, Paz, Borma, Togusa, Ishikawa, Saito and a new character for the game, Maven. Also, TheWarlock was taken as a name for doing the whole ‘in-game’ screen name so I’m WarlockofOz. Stupid other humans, stealin’ my identity…
Once you’ve chosen your operative, you can then select servers (at the time of this post, the AUS servers are a little buggy and very underpopulated- we need more Aussies to lern 2 love Tachikomas) Then you can customize your loadout- you begin with 3 loadouts, each changeable by pressing F1-F3, though you cannot change within a round. You can however pick up a fallen ally’s or enemy’s gun if they die, which is handy if you’re toting a sniper rifle and need to pick up an SMG. Between a round you can switch loadouts, which is convenient if you chose the wrong weapon initially. There’s a few different ways to ‘dive’ into a match, usually random is best as it saves on sorting things out manually.
Further proof to the game being in early access is that the countdown timer to the next game pauses if one side doesn’t have enough members and does not auto shuffle to keep games flowing. I’ll be leaving feedback via the forum or on steam so hopefully everything is ironed out come the full release. Once you’ve ‘dived’ you’ll gain around 1min to run around a sim and get a bit of map awareness.
Your team appears as Section 9 members, while the enemy appears to you as generic mooks and vice versa. I forgot to mention but each loadout is: main weapon, pistol, grenade, free extra slot. You can purchase extras in an armoury screen between games and use in-game or your own cash. Other upgrades are unlocked via grinding- so scopes and such are a “play the game” kinda thing.
Death is dignified in game, with you ‘splodin’ everywhere in bits of cyborg bits. The above and below pics are for “Terminal Capture” a progressive CTF where a successful capture of a terminal allows for a Tachikoma (complete with voice and antics) to be deployed.
At the end of each round, you’ll either get a winner or loser screen which will then show your exp trail for leveling up, unlocking weapons/accessories and consumable bonuses such as a repaid reload and so on. They’re useful, but I’m letting them stockpile a bit.
The Director or his secretaries occasionally pop up to reinforce the objective, typically at focal points such as when a terminal is almost captured or the enemy has planted the bomb and you need to get to the site for defusing. If you haven’t guessed, I’ve just been using Togusa as his unique ability (more on these later) is cool. Plus he’s an all-round legend in the anime.
Health doesn’t regenerate, so in demolition mode (essentially counterstrike) once you’re down and out, you’re down and out til next round. Deathmatch and Terminal capture give you a respawn timer, which allows you to get back in the fight and listen to Run Rabbit Junk for more awesome. Tachikomas in Terminal Conquest can be hacked, but this just makes them weaker to take out. Considering you only get one grenade per spawn, and you’re toting light weapons, it’s handy to do.
Now, each operative has a unique ability that has two tiers- tier one is for personal use, tier two abilities can be linked to nearby allies, granting them the tier one effects:
–Major Kusanagi: Thermo-optic camo. Same as the anime and just like Halo’s active camo- you can see light refraction, that’s about it. Can go for longer at tier 2. Use it to get in close and mess up your opponent. If you play her, it’s because you’re either a huge fan of the Major or you’re in favour of dismantling tachikomas because they ask uncomfortable questions about the nature of souls,dying and life after death.
-Togusa: My man, he gets a seeker drone- it seeks and explodes. Tier 2 gives TWO seeker drones which add a scrambler effect (scrambler grenades kill camo and hurt turrets). The seeker drones have a limited range, so ideally it’s best to get close to an enemy postion then launch them. They can also be shot before they explode, so keep that in mind.
-Borma: Nano gel- it’s a tank ability, giving health back and more armour. I haven’t seen anyone use Borma in game. :/ Bald guys get no love.
–Batou: Arm missiles. Yes, arm missiles. Fire them for some KABOOM! Tier 2 is twice as KABOOMY. KABOOOOOM! They work like a grenade but there’s no delay before the KABOOM. Point. Click. KABOOM!
-Paz: Basically super speed. Perfect for getting into melee range as melee is like battlefield- no real defense against a melee attack, which is fair I suppose considering everyone has guns. Combine with Thermo-optic camo for epic lulz. Also handy for objective grabbing.
-Saito: Heat vision- see through walls, Tier 2 allows for a bigger range to see more guys through walls. His main role for those who haven’t watched GiTS: S.A.C is sniping. One of your 3 starting loadouts is a sniper rifle. Wink wink nudge nudge.
-Maven: She deploys a optic camo barrier which hides allies behind it but is immobile and can be broken. It’s handy as a distraction but it feels like she’s more of a camping Major as opposed to the real one who runs around being all cool and stuff. She might be related to Donald Trump what with her putting up walls and stuff.
-Ishikawa gets a turret for pewpewpewpewpew ur ded action. Perfect for those terminal conquest missions. Pop a turret and camp until the objective is yours! Seriously that’s it. A turret- tier 2 gives it more health and a bigger LOS but it’s a turret.
Overall, it plays like a complete game though there’s a lack of maps at the moment- it’s a bit like Star Wars: Battlescam on the PS4 only there’s more modes and a few more maps. The maps so far include PSS9 🙂 In the future there will be much more added as it’s a 4 month old game in early access. For $5 though, you can’t really go wrong.
So…y’know, buy this game and play it.